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Elerly mother neglecting herself and refusing support

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My mother lives along in a flat and neglects herself – home dirty, no personal hygiene, dehydrated, eats moldy food as doesn’t want to waste it. She has lost a lot of weight, retches, has had a couple of falls and hurt herself with boiling water when trying to fill a hot water bottle. Is soon having medical tests as doctor did an ECG and discovered she must have had a heart attack (but she denies this). I live the other side of the world and my two siblings who live close to her cannot cope – they have their own other significant challenges to deal with. We knew she would resist going into a home and so my siblings recently suggested she get some home help. She refused and became angry and agitated and my siblings were devastated and at a loss at what to do next. I know someone will suggest social services but I gather they push back care needs onto the family – and my siblings absolutely cannot take this on. She makes poor judgements and forgets/denies things that have happened. I suspect dementia of some kind. What are our options? Could a privately arranged Psychologist assess her needs and have a careful conversation with her to discover her underlying objections? But we would not get her consent for such a referral. We all feel so desperate and at our wits end.


  • My mother lives along in a flat and neglects herself – home dirty, no personal hygiene, dehydrated, eats moldy food as doesn’t want to waste it. She has lost a lot of weight, retches, has had a couple of falls and hurt herself with boiling water when trying to fill a hot water bottle. Is soon having medical tests as doctor did an ECG and discovered she must have had a heart attack (but she denies this). I live the other side of the world and my two siblings who live close to her cannot cope – they have their own other significant challenges to deal with. We knew she would resist going into a home and so my siblings recently suggested she get some home help. She refused and became angry and agitated and my siblings were devastated and at a loss at what to do next. I know someone will suggest social services but I gather they push back care needs onto the family – and my siblings absolutely cannot take this on. She makes poor judgements and forgets/denies things that have happened. I suspect dementia of some kind. What are our options? Could a privately arranged Psychologist assess her needs and have a careful conversation with her to discover her underlying objections? But we would not get her consent for such a referral. We all feel so desperate and at our wits end.

    So sorry to hear this. It sounds as if your Mum is a potential danger to herself, as well as being unwell – so social services should take action once contacted. They should only push back if the care that she needs needs to be funded by the family – depending on your Mums financial status.

    I think firstly you should talk to your Mum’s Doctor. They should be able to mobilise the initial resources needed via community care/district nurse. Your Mum might be really frightened particularly perhaps if she has some kind of Dementia – which may also be contirbuting to her anger over suggestions of care. There are organisations that can give you a private assessment – local private care agencies should be able to help with this. Good luck.

    I would ask social services to assess your mother for mental capacity. If she fails the test then you have to obtain power of attorney if that’s not been arranged already. You will then be able to choose her care against her will if necessary and be responsible for the finances. Otherwise you have to ask the court of protection to do this for you which costs. Google time gap of getting this in place once identified. She may however, be sectioned under the mental health act if very bad, in which case a special home is chosen and paid by the state, at least it was. I’ve been retired for awhile, so things have probably changed. Age UK do good info online about money matters. She lacks mental capacity in my view so have a go.

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